Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption rights apply to leave granted to parents both before and after birth or adoption. The rights provide parents with the time needed to maintain family responsibilities while keeping their right to return to work. Fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex partners are entitled to paternity or maternity leave, adoption and shared parental leave.

This factsheet provides an introduction to maternity and paternity rights, including leave and pay both before and after childbirth. It outlines shared parental leave and looks briefly at adoption rights, which are now broadly in line with statutory maternity leave and pay. Lastly, the factsheet offers guidance for employers on implementing, monitoring and reviewing these policies.

CIPD viewpoint

The context for maternity, paternity and adoption rights

Maternity rights

Paternity rights

Shared parental leave

Adoption rights

Guidance for employers

Useful contacts and further reading

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist, and by Rachel Suff.

Rachel Suff

Rachel Suff: Employee Relations Adviser

Rachel joined the CIPD as a policy adviser in 2014 to increase the CIPD’s public policy profile and engage with politicians, civil servants, policy-makers and commentators to champion better work and working lives. An important part of her role is to ensure that the views of the profession inform CIPD policy thinking in ER areas such as health and well-being, employee engagement and employment relations.

As well as developing policy on UK employment issues, she helps guide the CIPD’s thinking in relation to European developments affecting the world of work. Rachel is a qualified HR practitioner and researcher; her prior roles include working as a researcher/editor for XpertHR and as a senior policy adviser at Acas.

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